Monday, May 21, 2018

[443] MTSU robotic pancake-makers require team effort

              Engineering Technology Open House features senior projects

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. —While an MTSU student-athlete, Ed Simpsonwas a consummate team player.

The 6-foot-2 guard was a contributor, both as a starter and coming off the bench for the men’s basketball team, which won a record-tying100 games during his four seasons. He could hit the 3-pointer or dish out assists.

One of more than 2,600 graduates May 4-5 in Murphy Center, the 22-year-old Ocean Springs, Mississippi, native was a team man in his mechatronics engineeringmajor, too.

This spring, he was project manager for a four-man team making a robotic pancake-making machine — one of five such contraptions producing plenty of pancakes for visitors attending the recent Department of Engineering Technology Open House featuring senior projects.

“I did a lot of documentation, making sure we stayed on track,” Simpson said of the group that included fellow seniors Chance FergusonEli Little and Jeremy Hood. “We would meet every two weeks to make sure everything was running smoothly.”

Simpson also did a lot of math as they planned, designed and built the pancake-maker, which had to dispense batter, flip a pancake and place it on a plate.

During the open house — where the aroma of cooked pancakes and the accompanying syrup filled the room in the Tom H. Jackson Building’s Cantrell Hall — things ran smoothly until the power went out because there were too many cooks (and pancake-makers) using too much electricity on one end of the facility.

Simpson, who could’ve chosen an Ivy League school because of his strong academic background, entered MTSU majoring in mechanical engineering technology. By his sophomore year and at the suggestion of an adviser, he switched to the fast-growing mechatronics program.

A member of the Conference USA All-Academic team and True Blue President’s Award recipient, Simpson said he has landed a systems engineering position with aviation, defense, space and security giant Boeing in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and will begin work there in mid- to late June. 

For more on mechatronics engineering and engineering technology, call 615-898-2776.

MTSUhas more than 240 combined undergraduate and graduate programs. Engineering and mechatronics are part of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences.

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